Deirdre Williams, Clinical Psychologist and CLEAR Mental Health Associate from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, reflects on how the CLEAR methodology promotes new ways of thinking and attitudes to change within her organisation.
I am a clinical psychologist working across three community mental health teams in Norwich. As a CLEAR Associate, I took part in two projects: the first one was looking at service user journeys within our community mental health teams and the second one was looking at the operational model within our mental health liaison teams. I worked with two fantastic colleagues from within the trust who I had not had the good fortune to work with before. We really enjoyed the CLEAR methodology and its use of both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis to bring about new thinking and strategic change.
The CLEAR approach is thoughtful and pragmatic: it captures staff knowledge and wisdom about what is working well and not so well, and also uses quantitative data to confirm, or disconfirm, our qualitative “hunches”. In both projects, we have been able to make recommendations for service change which should improve service user and staff experiences within the teams, so it has been very rewarding in that respect. The structure of the training and support was very helpful to me. Working in a busy clinical area, it was essential to have the time blocked out and highly structured in this way, with a slightly relentless focus on project completion! We had fantastic supervisors from 33n who really helped support us to shape and deliver our projects.
Taking part has rekindled my enthusiasm for strategic and service development work and has given me the opportunity to present our findings and our recommendations to our executive board, senior management and commissioners. I know the work has been valued by the organisation.
I feel that taking part in CLEAR has raised my profile within the organisation, but also inspired new ideas for service delivery within my own area of work.
It was a bit of a shame, though inevitable, that our CLEAR mental health cohort completed the programme online but it will be great to meet them finally in person in August. It was helpful to hear about other mental health projects and swap ideas and experiences and I would be keen to stay part of the CLEAR community.